PHOTO: Ole Miss' David Cutcliffe, right, and Auburn's Tommy Tuberville shake hands after their SEC game this season. Cutcliffe now joins Tuberville on the list of former Ole Miss football coaches. Cutcliffe was fired Wednesday morning after six seasons.(File photo)
Daily Journal, Associated Press Reports
OXFORD – Ole Miss football coach David Cutcliffe has been fired.
Ole Miss officials informed Cutcliffe of the decision early today and Cutcliffe met with the team before an afternoon news conference.
“This has been a tough day, but tough times don't last … tough people do,” Cutcliffe said.
Cutcliffe declined to discuss specifics of his dismissal.
“We just couldn't come to an agreement,” he said. “We couldn't get everything on the same page.”
Cutcliffe has three years remaining on a contract believed to pay $1.2 million annually.
Athletic director Pete Boone was also scheduled to talk with reporters.
Cutcliffe was 44-29 in six seasons at Ole Miss, 25-23 in the Southeastern Conference, and just a season removed from going 10-3 and finishing tied for first in the SEC West with Eli Manning at quarterback.
But without Manning, the first pick in the NFL draft, Ole Miss slipped to 4-7, its worst season in 10 years. The Rebels were 3-5 in the SEC and lost four games by a total of 19 points.
Cutcliffe, the former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Tennessee, had been criticized for his handling of the quarterback position this season.
Micheal Spurlock was the starter at the beginning of the season, but was benched midway through the second game for Ethan Flatt.
Flatt started the Rebels' next nine games. Midway through the season, Cutcliffe switched to a three-quarterback rotation with redshirt freshman Robert Lane entering the mix.
It worked well in a 31-28 victory over then-No. 25 South Carolina. But Ole Miss then lost four straight, including three to ranked teams.
Cutcliffe met with chancellor Robert Khayat and Boone earlier this week after the Rebels completed the season by beating rival Mississippi State 20-3 last Saturday.
Cutcliffe was the only coach in school history to win at least seven games in his first five years.
After a 3-hour meeting that ended early Tuesday evening, Cutcliffe emerged saying he would be making decisions about the program. He did not directly answer the question of whether he was still football coach.
“We’re reaching a point where I’m going to be making some decisions about the program,” Cutcliffe said in a statement Tuesday night. “The decisions will be made. I can’t really give you a firm timetable, but all of this will be rectified soon to where you will all know the outcome of all the discussions.”
Cutcliffe is less than 11 months removed from an SEC West co-championship, a 10-3 season and a Cotton Bowl victory en route to coach of the year honors.
See Thursday's Daily Journal for complete coverage.